Opening Doors joins the global community in Malta to get the campaign’s message across

odmalta0911201713 national coordinators, representatives of 5 international partner organisations together with campaign’s core team members have attended International Foster Care Organisation 2017 World Conference in Malta to share practices on strengthening families and ending institutionalisation of children in Europe. 

The conference entitled “Setting Sail from a Safe Port: Giving our children confidence to move forward with safe and permanent relationships” has attracted over 300 delegates from 42 countries of the world during 1-4 November 2017. The Opening Doors for Europe’s Children campaign became part of the international gathering and harnessed synergy of the global community in order to get the message across: the end of institutional care for children in Europe is possible and within the reach.

Jana Hainsworth, Secretary General of Eurochild and Miriana Giraldi, Head of EU Office at SOS Children’s Villages International – international partners of the Opening Doors campaign – have opened the first day of the Conference on 2 November 2017 with plenary session, where they presented progress with transition from institutional to family- and community-based care in 16 European countries. They briefed attendants what is the EU doing, what are the EU commitments towards deinstitutionalisation reforms and why it is important for the civil society to engage with EU on the way towards this transition.



During presentation, a new video on the 2nd phase of the campaign has been launched. The campaign’s national coordinators and international partners shared answers to a question: what needs to be done to open doors for a bigger and brighter future for children in care in Europe? The Opening Doors Phase II video can be watched online via the following link. 


In the afternoon, National coordinators from Ukraine & Romania facilitated a workshop where they shared with international community involved in quality alternative care for children deinstitutionalisation practices in the European context.


Held in partnership between the International Foster Care Organisation, the President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society, the National Foster Care Association Malta, the Foundation for Social Welfare Services and Eurochild, 2017 World Conference of the International Foster Care Organisation celebrated global successes of quality alternative care for children in Malta.

“All children are entitled to the very best possible care. We must, therefore, act on our legal, ethical, and social obligations, to meet the diverse, complex, and human needs of each and every child,” told Her Excellency Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, President of Malta those present for IFCO 2017 conference at the President’s Palace in Valletta. She added that the interest shown in the conference was a reminder to those in positions of influence that policy decisions and casework choices had life-altering effects on children and their families. Ms Coleiro Preca called on the stakeholders to be vociferous by pushing policies and initiatives that supported high-quality out-of-home care. “Let me encourage you to be champions of children’s rights, guardians of their best interests, and advocates for their holistic wellbeing. We cannot stand idle, when so many children and young people are getting lost in the labyrinths of institutional structures and formal systems,” the President concluded.

The aim of IFCO 2017 conference was in its theme: “Setting Sail from a Safe Port: Giving our children confidence to move forward with safe and permanent relationships”, reflecting where Malta’s child protection system currently is at, including the European context. It was driven by an ambition to develop quality care systems that are child-and family-centred and underpinned by children’s rights. Due to the fact that Malta has embarked recent policy reforms, conference was organised to emphasize the need to continue investments in quality care solutions for children in out-of-home care and to share and to promote global experience to achieve excellence in alternative care.  Collective experience indicated that children in out-of-home care still suffer unnecessarily due to lack of stability & permanence in their placements. Legislation & policies should be in place to safeguard this, as well as child care and child protection systems that function and meet needs of each individual child. Conference workshops, plenaries and discussions highlighted that only stable and definitive solutions are in best interest of children in out-of-home care system around the world.

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